Friday, September 9, 2011

Hike 2011.061 -- Fort Henry Trails (2)

Hiked Thursday, September 8. My second trip to this area. There are enough trail miles around here to support at least two or three more trips, especially if I include the far southern end of the North-South trail.

Today I wanted something relatively short, since I couldn't get on the trail until around 4pm. My main goal was to hike the Pickett Loop, because a lot of this loop runs along Kentucky Lake. That adds a little variety to a set of trails that otherwise just runs under and through a thick tree canopy.

To get to the trailhead, I took US 79 to Fort Henry Road. It's about a mile east of the bridge over Kentucky Lake, and there's a sign indicating the way to Piney Campground. It's also LBL Road #230. About two miles up this road, you pass the turnout for Piney Campground. To get to the Fort Henry trailheads, you do NOT turn there. Instead, continue an additional two miles to a signed junction that points left for Boswell Landing. Turn there, then turn left, again, when you reach the signed junction for the Fort Henry trailhead.

Continue 1/4 mile along the dirt road and park where there's a little turn-around loop.

Although the map indicates just two trails here (Telegraph trail or to Pickett Loop), there are about four different trails on the ground. Many appear to rejoin the other trails a short distance away, but it's impossible to be sure about some of them. Nonetheless, if you head "south" (left, as facing the loop at the end of the road, you'll be on the Telegraph trail, heading south, and soon cross Fort Henry Road. If you head "north" (right, as facing the loop at the end of the road), you'll soon hit a trail where faded old magic marker lettering indicates you are on your way to the Pickett Loop. This trail will soon lead you across the road that leads to Boswell Landing. After .7 miles, you reach junction 23, the actual Pickett Loop trail. If you take the loop in a clockwise direction, there'll be a spur trail you'll run across in about a mile that will let you see Boswell Landing.

That's the path I took yesterday. Staying on it was not always easy, and in many spots (particularly at junction 23) I was clearly not on the official route. Or, perhaps, the blazes were not on the official route? I don't know. I do know that, at several points, a blue arrow on a piece of paper stapled to a tree was all that pointed the way. Also at several points, a blue "W" with the words, "Wrong way, dummy" was stapled to other trees.

As with my other hikes in Land Between the Lakes, having a copy of the trail map is indispensable if you want to keep your bearings. A link to the trail map for the area I hiked in today is here.

Withe the help of the map, I was always in the vicinity of the trail I wanted to be on. I managed to walk from near the "1" junction of the Fort Henry and Telegraph trails to the 23 and 24 junctions along Pickett Loop, then along the spur to Boswell Landing and back, then around the loop to junction 26, then junction 3. The last 1.1 miles was thus on the Telegraph trail rather than the Pickett Loop. I lost the Pickett Loop trail at junction 26. Approximately 4.6 miles total walking for the day (a little longer than the trail-indicated distances since I wandered around Boswell Landing some).

At Boswell Landing, I checked out Campbell Cemetary (one of dozens or more of family cemetaries in the LBL). One (of a person born in 1824 and died in the mid-1870s) had a weathered American flag at its back, so I assume this person was a veteran, though it did not indicate of which war.

I also walked on down to the lake. At the lake, I saw a LOT of shells. Most seemed to be either small clam shells or spiral snail shells. Don't know which of them are native to the rivers and which might be invasive.

The water off of Boswell Landing was pretty choppy. Much less choppy was the water I saw when I walked along the a small inlet adjacent to Panther Bay.

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